Fine Desserts

Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb and Whiskey

5 from 1 vote
Delight in this delectable Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb & Whiskey with creamy textures and an irresistible, sophisticated tang.
Creamy custard with bright, tangy roasted rhubarb flavored with vanilla and Irish whiskey is scooped and served in two dessert bowls. The rest of the custard are on the side.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb and Whiskey is a comforting, creamy custard with bright, tangy roasted rhubarb infused with vanilla and Irish whiskey. Beyond its childhood favorite silky texture and gentle sweetness, the zingy sweet-sour rhubarb transformed classic custard into a charmingly boozy treat for adults. It’s the perfect finish for a dinner party.

I’m proud to say there’s a connection to the much-loved O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey used in this apple crisp recipe and in this lovely O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey Cake. My cousin, Michael J. Stafford is the managing director of Stafford Bonded in my hometown of Wexford, Ireland. Michael carried on the family business created by our grandfather (James Stafford) and also our fathers (George Stafford Snr and Michael Stafford Snr). In addition, Michael has chronicled the history of the Stafford family in Wexford beautifully on the Stafford Bonded website. O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey is inspired by Diarmuid O’Driscoll, Michael’s other grandfather, a true inspiration and a great storyteller who recently passed away at 104. You will understand the inspiration when you hear Diarmuid talk of the O’Driscoll family.

Table of Contents

A bowl of silky smooth, creamy custard with bright, tangy roasted rhubarb flavored with vanilla and Irish whiskey.

What is Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb and Whiskey?

  • Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb and Whiskey is a delicate, silky dessert made with a medley of eggs, sugar, and heavy whipping cream. Unquestionably, sweetened, whiskey-infused roasted rhubarb is a beautifully contrasting accompaniment.
  • Baked custards are cooked in a water bath to ensure a uniformly smooth and creamy texture.
  • Custard-like dishes were made in ancient Greece and Rome. Subsequently, improved technology made baked custards popular in the 1800s. In addition, the sweetness and comforting texture of custard makes various types of them popular all over the world. Famous versions include French creme brulee, Italian panna cotta, Spanish flan, and the U.K.’s custard tarts.
  • Whiskey, as the star ingredient, makes a beautifully contrasting accompaniment along with sweetened, roasted rhubarb.

Tools You Need to Make Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb and Whiskey

Key Ingredients and Why

  • Egg Yolk

    • Egg yolks are an emulsifier, binding fat and water content together to form a smooth and uniform texture.
    • The fat in egg yolks gives the custard a creamy mouthfeel and depth of flavor.
    • Additionally, yolks coagulate in heat to thicken and set the custard.
    • Also, egg yolks give custard its lovely golden color.
  • Granulated Sugar

    • Sugar makes the custard sweet, and balances out the dairy flavors of eggs and heavy whipping cream.
    • In addition, sugar can caramelize during baking which gives a lovely toffee-like note to the dessert.
  • Cornstarch

    • Cornstarch absorbs liquid to gel and thicken the baked custard.
    • Additionally, it also stabilizes the mixture and protects it from splitting or curdling.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream

    • Heavy whipping cream’s high-fat content contributes to the baked custard’s indulgent mouthfeel.
    • Also, the fat and natural dairy sugars give the custard a fresh taste with caramelly notes.
  • Rhubarb

    • The refreshing tartness of rhubarb is a wonderful contrast to the richness and sweetness of baked custard. Plus, its rosy color looks lovely against the creamy custard.
    • Roasting rhubarb with sugar, vanilla bean paste, and Irish whiskey gives it delicious complexity.
    • Also be sure to try these other recipes that feature the unique flavor of rhubarb: Simple Rhubarb Crisp and Strawberry and Rhubarb Crostata.

A close-up shot at creamy custard with bright, tangy roasted rhubarb flavored with vanilla and Irish whiskey.

How to Make Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb and Whiskey

  • Prep

    • First, heat water in a kettle until boiling
    • Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Place a 9-inch baking pan into a larger roasting pan.
  • Make the Custard

    • Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch.
    • Next, add cream, whisk until smooth, and sieve mixture to remove any lumps. Then pour the mixture into the baking dish and top with grated nutmeg.
    • Put the baking dish into the roasting dish and place in the oven. Next, pour the boiling water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
    • Bake for 55-65 minutes until custard is set but slightly wobbly in the center. Then let cool in water bath for an hour.
  • Prepare the Rhubarb

    • Toss the rhubarb with sugar, vanilla bean paste, and 1/4 cup whiskey.
    • Next, roast on a baking sheet at 350°F (180°C) for 20 minutes until sugar starts to caramelize.
    • Transfer rhubarb to a serving bowl and add 1/4 cup of whiskey. Serve spooned over custard.

Can I Make Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb and Whiskey in Advance?

    • The baked custard should be served on the day it is prepared.
    • Also, the roasted rhubarb can be made one day ahead, refrigerated, and reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.

How to Store Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb and Whiskey

Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

FAQs

  • Is it necessary to bake the custard in a water bath?

    • A water bath creates steam during baking, creating a moist environment, which gently cooks the eggs.
      • The water bath ensures the custard won’t overcook or curdle as it might if exposed to direct high heat.
      • Also, this slow cooking prevents cracks which happen when the custard cooks and expands too quickly.
      • The water bath ensures even cooking that gives the custard a delicate texture throughout.
    • In addition, the warmth from the water bath also protects the custard from too-rapid cooling after it’s removed from the oven. This helps the custard set well.
  • Can I make this recipe without eggs?

For a custard like this, eggs are the main ingredient. I wouldn’t recommend a substitute.

  • How can I prevent baked custard from weeping? By the time I served it, there was a lot of liquid in the dish.

    • When custard is overcooked or cooked at too high of a temperature, or cools too rapidly, the proteins from the eggs coagulate and cause the custard to squeeze out liquid. So be sure to mind the recommended cooking temperature, and let the custard cool gradually in the water bath.
    • Also, using low-fat dairy in the custard can cause weeping as there’s not enough fat to keep the custard stable. Be sure to use heavy whipping cream here.

Creamy custard with bright, tangy roasted rhubarb flavored with vanilla and Irish whiskey is scooped and served in a dessert bowl. A bottle of Irish whiskey and the rest of the custard are on the side.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • Take care to remove the custard when it is still a bit wobbly in the center. It will continue cooking a bit when it is removed from the oven, and if the custard is overbaked, it will have an off texture.
  • You can serve this custard while it’s still warm if you prefer. In this case, just roast the rhubarb as soon as you remove the custard from the oven. The roasting time should give the custard enough time to set up a bit on the counter.
  • If you would rather have an alcohol-free dessert, you can leave out the whiskey.
  • Alternatively, if you are serving this to both kids and adults, roast the rhubarb without the whiskey, then just sprinkle ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) whiskey over the rhubarb intended for grown-ups before serving.
  • If you can’t find any rhubarb, try making this with roasted strawberries instead. Simply use double the amount of hulled strawberries but keep the rest of the ingredients and method the same.

More Custard Recipes

Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb and Whiskey

5 from 1 vote
Delight in this delectable Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb & Whiskey with creamy textures and an irresistible, sophisticated tang.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Delight in this delectable Baked Custard with Roasted Rhubarb & Whiskey with creamy textures and an irresistible, sophisticated tang.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

Make the Custard

  • 10 large egg yolks , room temperature
  • cup (2½ oz/71 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 ½ cups (20 fl oz/600 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • A few gratings of whole nutmeg

Make the Roasted Rhubarb

Instructions

Make the Custard

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C) and place a 9 inch baking dish inside a larger roasting pan and set aside.
  • Fill a kettle with water and bring to a boil.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch together.
  • Pour in the cream and whisk until smooth. Pass the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps.
  • Pour into the baking dish and grate a little fresh nutmeg on top.
  • Place the roasting pan with the custard dish in the oven and pour hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the custard dish.
  • Bake for 55 - 65 minutes, until set but still a bit wobbly in the center. Let cool in the water bath to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Roast the Rhubarb

  • Just before serving, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In a large bowl, toss the rhubarb with the sugar, vanilla bean paste and ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) whiskey.
  • Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 - 25 minutes, until softened and the sugar is beginning to lightly caramelize.
  • Carefully transfer the rhubarb and any syrup in the pan to a bowl and pour in the remaining ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) whiskey.
  • Serve scoops of custard topped with some of the roasted rhubarb. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

 

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Bea S.
Bea S.
4 months ago

Hi Gemma, how would you recommend baking the custard as well as ingredients modifications for high altitude? Thank you!

Maxine
Maxine
4 months ago

I live in Florida and rhubarb is hard to find here. Last fall I did find some in my local grocery, so it’s now in the freezer. A couple of days ago, my husband (a Scotsman) pulled it out and said “Get rid of this, it’s only taking up space!”, I declined. As luck would have it, your recipe for rhubarb showed up in my email today. THANK YOU!!! I will be making this next weekend and will leave a review then.

Mary W
Mary W
4 months ago

I never realized the reason for the water bath – but did use them. However, I usually just remove the dish from the water immediately after cooking which would completely erase the benefit of having the hot water. THANK YOU for such complete instructions. I don’t think there is a better dessert than just plain cooked custard no matter how it has been enhanced, altered, added to. I will make this as soon as I get to the store to buy the cream. My mouth is watering.

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook